Bottom line: This Lent I invite you to trust God, to live in the present moment, to "be firm, steadfast".
I'm glad to be home from Peru. The bulletin shows some of the children and families you support, especially with your prayers. We have good readings to prepare for Lent which begins this Wednesday. To put them in context, a couple weeks ago Jeremiah spoke of two types of people: the person who puts his trust in men and the person who trusts God.
There is a big difference between the two. The one who puts his trust in men is like a tree whose roots don't reach water. It dries up and withers. On the other hand, the person who trusts the Lord is firmly rooted - like a tree that flourishes and produces good fruits.
Let me give an example of amazing trust. I heard this when I was in Peru. The Vincentian Daughters of Charity told me about a courageous Venezuelan Sister named Sor Xiomara. She was working in Colombia when she received word of a desperate situation in her home country. A home for elderly was without food, medicines and other basic supplies such as diapers. Sor Xiomara and a Colombian Sister loaded a van and headed for the border.
When they arrived, a soldier stopped them. "Get out of the car," he ordered. The Colombian Sister started to open her door, but Sor Xiomara said, "no." The soldier pointed his gun at her. She said, "You can kill me, but I am not leaving this van."
The soldier then asked, "What are you bringing across the border?" Sor Xiomara said, "food, medicine, diapers for the elderly." The soldier said, "Give us half and you can go." The Colombian Sister said, "Give it to them. We can get more." But Sor Xiomara simply repeated, "No." The forty year old Sister and the young soldier stared at each other in silence. Finally the soldier said, "Madre, Mother, you can go."
St. Paul tells us, "Be firm, steadfast." Sister Xiomara gives a powerful example. You and I may never face down a corrupt soldier, but we have an even more powerful opponent. Next Sunday we will hear about Jesus' struggle against Satan. The enemy wants to rob you and me - take away our purpose, our hope, our trust in God.
This Lent I invite you to trust God, to live in the present moment, to "be firm, steadfast." I will be using three resources: The Mindful Catholic by Dr. Greg Bottaro, Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence and Let God Work Wonders by Fr. Joseph Sica. These books will help us trust God and live in the present. The enemy wants us to live in the past, filled with remorse or in the future, always dreaming about a day when problems will disappear. Jesus, however, wants us to live in the present - the only time we have.
We'll see more when we receive ashes this Wednesday, "Repent and believe in the Gospel." As St Paul says, "Be firm, steadfast." Amen.
From Archives (Homilies for Eighth Sunday, Year C):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources)
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru